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Krawcheck Says Women On Wall Street Have 'Gone Backwards'

It has long been a feature of Wall Street that women are underrepresented in the executive ranks. But since the financial crisis, the situation has gotten worse, according to one former big bank executive.

“It’s not that we’ve even gone sideways, as we have in corporate America,” Sallie L. Krawcheck, a former executive at Bank of America and Citigroup, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. “We’ve gone backwards.”

Ms. Krawcheck, a prominent voice on the subject of women in finance, who owns the women’s network 85 Broads, said that the crisis tended to make banks more homogenous, reiterating an argument that she has made in the past.

“What I saw when I was on Wall Street is it’s not, ‘Well, let’s get rid of people who are different from us because they’ve got cooties,’” she said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s more, ‘Yeah, I know the numbers around diversity, and the diversity adds to business results in theory, but we are in a crisis mode and I need that person who I can trust today.’”

While the pipeline of workers entering the financial industry has a more balanced gender mix, those numbers skew male as workers advance through their careers, Ms. Krawcheck said.Ms. Krawcheck ran Sanford C. Bernstein & Company before leaving for Citigroup, where she was promoted to chief financial officer.

After clashing with other senior managers at Citigroup, she landed at Bank of America. But she was let go two years later as part of a broader restructuring.

In the television interview, Ms. Krawcheck recounted her own transition to working as a research analyst.

“I made a decision for my family,” she said. “I was an investment banker in my 20s, and as I was pregnant with my son and had my son, made a decision that that wasn’t the right choice for our family. So I became a research analyst.”

“I worked harder as a research analyst than an investment banker. But I owned my time,” she continued. “And I’ve said before, I never had a client who said, ‘I reject this research report because you did it on a Saturday night after your son was sleeping, not on a Thursday afternoon.’”

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